Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Say What Wednesday...

And yet, another Wednesday rolls around and I am having a hard time of picking just a few of the "Say What?" moments from the previous week.

As you may remember from a few posts ago, Little Brownie has been getting "heart treats" on occasion. This after observing Big Brownie using the potty successfully and then receiving this reward. As Valentine's Day came and went, so did the actual conversation hearts. I found a deal at Food Lion right after the holiday as they were clearing out their inventory. I bought several bags at $.12 a bag. The luster of the actual conversation heart treat has waned a bit as time has passed. To continue the reward system, we have moved to jelly bean treats for #2 potty. Little Brownie has been very curious about the potty. He has began sitting on the potty, waiting for a minute and then running to me saying, "Pee-Pee Potty" and then immediately yelling "HEART TREAT". It is so funny to me in fact that it has worked a couple of times and he has received a treat. Last week, he came to me and said, "Mama...PEE-PEE!" I asked him, "Do you want to pee-pee in the potty?" He says, "Uh-huh". I took his diaper off and started to pick him up to take him to the potty. In that split second it took for me to stand up, something happened. He stood in front of me in the living room floor and I bet you can't guess what? Well, out came a "baby ruth" or #2 onto the floor behind him. You ever have a moment when intellectually you know something just happened, but you are so confused by the action, you are kinda paralyzed...that was me. I just looked at him and finally said, "Daddy, I got poo-poo on the floor!" And just at that moment, Little Brown sat down on my foot and with cheeks spread, I started yelling for Daddy Brown even louder. Daddy Brown to the rescue. In he swooped Little Brownie up and to the bathroom along with a wipee for the floor and, of course, for my foot. After everyone was clean, diapered and after Daddy Brown and I were finally calm from laughing so hard, Little Brownie came in and asked, "Bean"? You know, a jelly bean for #2 poo!

So, you may or may not know that I am no longer coloring my hair. This past September when I turned 33 years old, I decided that I didn't want to be one of those women. You know, the one that either colors their hair every 2-3 weeks FOREVER because they have so much grey hair or the one that decides at 60 years old or older that they don't want to color their hair any longer and they let it grow...and when it does, you see a distinct line of hair color to grey hair. Well, I've got a lot of grey hair, much more than I remember since I started coloring my hair in my mid-twenties. Big Brownie and I were outside this week and I was sitting on the steps. The sun was out and beaming down on us. He came down the steps behind me and said, "Wow, have sparkles in your hair!" I said, "What?" He said, "See Mama, your hair is all sparkly in the sun." Hummmm, I may be re-thinking my grey sparkley hair...nahhhh!

I tell you, Big Brownie would prefer to be naked on any given day of the week and all day on Saturday. That boy looks for any reason to take his clothes off. My favorites are...
"I need to take my clothes off to pee-pee (or poo-poo)".
"Mama, I'm still dirty"
"I spilled something on them"
"The bubbles made me sticky"
And my all time favorite..."I sneezed on my sleeve and I pooted in my pants"

Daddy Brown pruned our Bradford Pear tree this year. He was loading up the branches to take out to Pops and Gran Gran house. He decided he would take Big Brownie with him for the ride. Big Brownie was so excited. As they left, Daddy Brown explained to Big Brownie that Gran Gran and Pops may not be home. Big Brownie thought for a moment and said, "But why Dad?" Daddy Brown explained that they may be out running errands or working. Big Brownie thought for another minute and said, "Oh, Okay Dad...I might need to get a new Gran Gran and Pops!" more. If you watch Nick Jr., previously Noggin, you know that in between the 22-26 minutes shows, like Olivia, they run little 3-4 minute mini-episodes. One of the Brownie's favorite mini-episode is Peppa Pig. If they hear the theme song play, they stop, drop and run to the television. Last week after watching an episode, Big Brownie comes to me and says, "Mama, Peppa Pig has a Mommy Pig and a Daddy Pig and a Brother Pig". I said, "Yes baby, I saw Peppa Pigs family too." He said, "And Olivia has a Mama Pig too." I said, "Yes, I saw the Mama Pig on Olivia too". He laughed and said, "Oh Mama, You are just like Mama Pig and I love you my Mama Pig!" It was endearing. I just hope he assimilates me to being a Mama, not a pig.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rookie Mistake...

So, I've been a parent now for almost 3 years. In a normal job, by the 3rd year, you pretty much have your duties down to a science. Well, some days, I feel like I have this parenting thing down pat. However, some days, I am busy trying to multi-task, and I don't exactly think things through completely. This was the case today.

I have been helping Tutu-Nani today with a state conference she is hosting this weekend. I had to run several errands, meet a friend for lunch, get gas for the car and several other tasks. This past Wednesday, we went to visit Mammy and Aunt Basil, true to form, Aunt Basil always has a treat for the boys ready before we leave. Her gift this visit, a chocolate bunny. The Brownies have been holding and looking and petting their chocolate bunny for 2 days. Big Brownie would ask, "Mom, when can I eat my chocolate bunny?" My response has been, "Well, we will see when we get home." Then, by the time we get home, they have forgotten about the bunny and so have I.

Until today. We were going to be in the car a little more than usual. So, in an absent minded moment, Big Brownie asked me if they could have their bunny. I had to run into Tutu-Nani's house and the fleeting thought of me running in without unloading everyone sounded real appealing. I agreed to allow them to have their bunny, while I ran inside for just a minute. They were so excited. I opened the package, handed out the goods and explained that I would be right back. I was literally gone for 2 minutes and this is what I came back to...

The time saved by leaving everyone in the car while I ran in was busted by the next 10 minutes it took me to clean everyone up. 20 wipes later, we were clean and back on the road. I think I will need a few more years...say 16 or so, to get this job down without making such a rookie mistake.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Mommy Salsa...

As we listen to the rain and thunder outside this morning, I am holding Little Brownie in my lap. He loves for me to sway. He will rub his head back and forth on my chest and look at me from the right side and then the left side. I'll kiss his cheeks and he smiles. It's so precious. He loves for me to hold him on my side as we walk around, and I sway. He lays his head on my shoulder with his arms around my neck...and we sway, the "Mommy Salsa".

It made me remember when both Big and Little Brownie were just little babies and only months old. Big Brownie was especially high maintenance as a baby. In order to keep him calm, I remember I would hold him with his back against me and with one hand under bum and one hand across his belly, we would sway. We would bounce and we would walk. We called it the "Mommy Salsa". Every evening before bedtime, Daddy Brown would sit on the couch and talk to me as I "salsa'd" him around the living room. He would relax to the point of peaceful rest. Anytime he would get upset, the "Mommy Salsa" would always calm him and make him feel comforted.

Now as they are getting bigger, the Mommy Salsa is much harder to do in its original steps. Some days, like today, the Brownies just want me to do nothing more than hold them and sway. They are getting so big, so quick. I can't believe how fast they move and talk and process life. They are so brilliant. They are so caring at times to each other and their toys. When I see them playing with their stuffed animals and they are healing a boo-boo, they scoop them up, wrap their arms around the toy and sway.

The "Mommy Salsa" will be the "Daddy Salsa" in about 20+ years for them. They will hopefully be loving and comforting to their babies as they are so loving to their animals. It makes me tear up to know I only have a short window for this season of life for them. In a couple of years, they will be too big for me to scoop up and do the "Mommy Salsa". For now, I close my eyes and try my best to imprint the moment in my memory forever. If time could just slow down. If only I could hold them and sway every minute of every day. What a blessing they are to us.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Say What Wednesday...

Just barely getting this in on Wednesday. We have had a busy week and we have absolutely had some great zingers.

While shopping this week, Big Brownie has noticed other patrons entering and exiting the store at the same time as us. Yesterday, we went to Publix. We passed a lady as we were power walking into the store. Big Brownie noticed her right away and his eyes kept darting over to her. As we went down the deli aisle, so did she. We went through the produce section, so did she. Big Brownie was completely aware of his surroundings. He finally grabbed my arm as we went down the dairy aisle. He pulled me close to him as if he were going to tell me a secret. He yells in my ear, "Mama, that woman is following us, please tell her to go away!" Of course, I had noticed the woman, but definitely knew her actions were not of a stalking nature. I told Big Brownie not to worry, she was shopping too, and that he was doing a great job observing others. From that point on, every time we enter or exit a store, he yells, "Mama, is the man (or woman) following us?" I get a lot of snickers when he says it!

Speaking of Publix, while we were there, Big Brownie needed to go to the bathroom. He informed, "I need to pee-pee and I'll be going by myself." I turned to him and said, "Excuse me, since when do you get to go to the bathroom by yourself?" He said, "Oh don't worry Mama, I know exactly where it is and I will definitely wash my hands when I'm done!" Seriously, myself and 3 other lady's that heard our conversation couldn't stop laughing. And as if you didn't already know, he DID NOT go to the bathroom by himself.

This week, Little Brownie upgraded from his high chair to an official place at the table with a booster chair. He thinks he is such a big boy. He comes down in the morning, yells at me, "CHEERIOS" and then runs to his chair at the table. I, of course, can't get the cereal and to him fast enough so he continues to yell, "CHEERIOS, CHEERIOS...HUNGRY MAMA, HUNGRY!"

We went to my Grandmother's "Mammy" house to visit today. My Dad's sister, Aunt Basil, lives with her. As soon as we hit the door, Big Brownie ran inside and started jumping around yelling, "POPSICLE, POPSICLE!" Little Brownie imitated every action and word that Big Brownie spoke. As Aunt Basil went to the get them a Popsicle, Big Brownie turned to Mammy and said, "Mammy, did you know I was coming today?" She said, "Yes, we did know you were coming." He asked, "Did you go to the store today?" She said, "Well, no, we went to the store last week." He looked at her for a second and said, "Oh, did you know I LOVE to eat Popscicles and Animal Crackers and Chips and Cheese and Coke?" She said, "Yes, I do know that you like all of those things and we have all those things in the kitchen." Both of the Brownies eyes got really big and in the background Little Brownie is nodding his head and intently listening to this conversation. As Big Brownie says, "Yum, can I have some please?", Little Brownie yells, "Yes, PWEASE!!!!" It was so cute.

Daddy Brown was in the backyard with the Brownies this past weekend. We have a sweet couple that leaves next door. They are a semi-retired couple and they like to come over and chit-chat at the fence when we are outside. Big Brownie is just like his dad, he can talk to most anybody and for a really long time. Little Brownie said "Hi", but was more interested in digging in the garden and running around. I was inside making supper but was looking out the kitchen window as they we visiting with the neighbors. As they were coming back to the house to come inside to eat, this was the conversation between Big Brownie and Daddy Brown...

He said, "Daddy, thank you for helping me see my Grandpoppy today." Daddy Brown said, "No that wasn't your Grandpoppy, that was our neighbor, Mr. XXX." Big Brownie looked puzzled for a minute and then said, "Oh right, what was the Grandmommy's name?" Daddy Brown almost busted out into giggles as they came on inside and he answered that question for Big Brownie too.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh know I have an opinion...

So, if you read regularly, you know I have an opinion on just about everything and you know that I'm an open book, so most everything is up for discussion and debate. I love a good debate. I can't help myself when I read some Facebook posts about the new healthcare bill that was passed Sunday night. Lord help if you are a conservative and post something about the bill. You get jumped on pretty quickly for "not drinking the kool-aid" so to speak. I can't help myself when people write things like, "you should look up the word socialism in the dictionary" and basically tell you why it's so great and grand. They say things like, " so i guess the next time you decide to go to the store you wouldn't dare use our socialized roads. and i am sure your kids are not going to socialized schools. and you wouldn't think of calling our socialized police dept. or fire dept. but most of all you wouldn't dare have our troops using socialized health care so you would i am sure support the ending of the v.a. and of course you would not have the elderly involved with socialism so lets take there medicare and ssi away."

Ugh, seriously. When I look at the government Medicare system, is that what kind of system I want for me and my family? No and I want to have the choice to chose otherwise. I don't want someone telling me that if I don't carrying private health insurance, that I will be taxed at a higher rate. I will not argue with the fact that there is a need for Health care REFORM. So many people get wrapped up in the terminology. Health care REFORM and Health Insurance are two totally different things. Our government could do us all a favor and work on the health care system. You know I'm an open book so I'll share our personal story.

Daddy Brown and I have always been covered under my health insurance policy when I worked outside the home. As a small business owner, and the fact that Daddy Brown and Pops are the only two that work in their business, it was never feasible for them to carry a group policy. When I worked full-time, we had access to a robust PPO plan that paid for just about everything at a low cost to me. Not a low cost to my employer, but a low cost to me. We never gave a second thought to what tests or procedures were offered to us. It was health care and we had health insurance to cover it. Once I decided to go part-time, we put Daddy Brown and Big Brownie on their own individual policy as the company still covered me at 100% as a part-time employee and I was pregnant with Little Brownie. We paid a little more than $400 to cover them under this individual PPO plan.

Now, Daddy Brown hasn't had any asthma issues in MANY years and takes an OTC allergy medicine to control the symptoms of allergies. The insurance company put an exclusion rider on him for his entire life. So when he had an upper respiratory infection that the doctor also diagnosed as a sinus infection, the claim was not paid and the prescription medications were not covered. Big Brownie had 2 ear infections in his 1st year of life and they excluded him from ANY ear related expenses for his entire life. That meant when he had his hearing test at the age of 2, they would not cover it because of the exclusion rider.

These were things we were willing to live with because we don't really go to the doctor that much. We are a very healthy and young family. When I decided to quit work after having Little Brownie, I was on COBRA while we processed my application for me and Little Brownie to be added to Daddy Brown's policy. Thanks to Obama's ARRA policy, I paid about $100 a month for my continuing coverage. This meant we were spending more than $500 a month in health insurance for a family of 4. When I sent in my application to be added to Daddy Brown's policy within days of having Little Brownie, I was denied for being overweight. I still have the letter stating that I was too overweight to be covered. I had just given birth less than 2 weeks prior to my denial, however, because I had applied while I still had my "baby weight", I was denied. I will add, I have NO medical problems. I take NO medications, and yet, I was denied because I was a risky individual. I remained on my COBRA coverage for several months while taking off my baby weight.

For those who have known me for a while, I'm a bigger girl. I'm not morbidly obese, but I'm going to be a bigger framed female. I will never fit in the standard my BMI suggests. It just isn't going to happen. I reapplied last November to Daddy Brown's policy. This time, I was accepted as a participant, but because I wasn't at their ideal weight for my height, our monthly premium would go from $400 to $800 a month. Again, I have no pre-existing conditions, I'm simply overweight.

The reason I go into such detail is this...we obviously couldn't afford to pay $800+ a month in health insurance when we are all healthy. We don't have any medical problems and we rarely got to the doctor. We couldn't justify paying $800 a month for insurance we don't really use. Having 2 little ones, it was a scary thought of not having insurance at all. We made a choice, because we have a choice. We chose to seek out other options. We found a high deductible plan with a low month premium that will cover us at 100% after we reach our annual deductible. It has a small preventive care benefit to cover my annual OB appointment and the kids wellness check-ups. If something catastrophic happens, we will pay the first $10,000 of the medical bills and then the rest will be covered by our plan up to $25 million dollars. We now pay a little more than $200 a month for this coverage and the money we were spending in additional premiums, are put into a Health savings account. This will allow us to use tax deductible dollars from our HSA to pay for any medical expenses from doctors visits to Tylenol. Some would see this as not a great option, but it certainly is a viable option for us.

Each American should question this new health care bill. What does it mean to me? Rather than just fixing the health care system, they are trying to fix all Americans and Small Business Owners. I agree with some of the things in the bill. For instance, the pre-existing conditions. Certainly I agree with the fact that we should not have had riders put on Daddy Brown and Big Brownie when those were not even ongoing pre-existing conditions. I agree that a health insurance company should NOT be able to drop your coverage if you do get sick. Um, what's the purpose of paying monthly premiums if in the end, they cancel your policy if you get really sick and need coverage. Those are the types of issues that I consider Health care REFORM to the health care system.

In our personal story, we could have chosen not to have coverage at all. That was an option available to us. We didn't have the government saying...your choice is...carry private insurance through one of our government organized plans, or we will be happy to assess you with a higher tax rate come April 15th.
Seriously, is that how you plan on covering the American people? Does that seem constitutional? It seems like the government is taking my right to choose. Who are the first people to holler if a woman doesn't have the choice to have an abortion? Don't misread my question, because I am pro-life. But these same people who are pro-choice and will sue anyone who would even think about taking a woman right away are so willing to give over your right to what is best for you and your health care.

Ugh, I really could go on and I'd be shocked to know that anyone has continued to read this post to the end. But if you did get to this point, no matter what side of the aisle you stand on, make sure that side is representing you. Make sure that when you vote for your leaders, that you research what they are really about. Be vocal with your leaders, not just on something big like health care reform, but about all the little things that get passed and agreed upon behind closed doors to make all these big bills happen. Well, I'm officially coming down off my soapbox now. The best part about being an American, is being FREE and being able to chose what is best for you and your family. That's what this country was founded on and I pray everyday, that is what this country will continue to be about!

Here and there...

Daddy Brown and our little leprechauns found a four leaf clover on St. Patrick's Day this year. I'll confess that we only got out of our pajamas after nap time and I actually forgot it was a holiday until Daddy Brown came home. In my head, I had a whole day planned with green eggs and green biscuits. But the day came and I was on a different station in my brain. To redeem myself, we had broccoli and cheese quiche, green grapes and green beans for supper. I threw together some green cupcakes for dessert. The next day, I did make our green eggs. I used a flat pan to cook them in and made a mound of green eggs pieces with shredded cheese, bacon crumbled and cut up biscuits on top. Big Brownie said we were having a breakfast salad and scarfed it down as quickly as I could make one for Little Brownie. Funny how a little food coloring and creativity can mask a healthy breakfast.

I came downstairs the other day and couldn't find Little Brownie. I called for him over and over. I searched every room and was about to loose my mind. Then, I heard a giggle. I called his name again and I heard another giggle. It felt like I was playing a game of "Marco...Polo" in the pool like when I was a kid. I got my camera ready as I finally zeroed in on his location. As I came around, Little Brownie jumped out and said, "TA DA!" I know my reaction should have been different. I certainly don't want him hiding from me outside of our home and I have a panic attack because I can't find him. But, he is only 18 months old and we will learn that lesson in time I'm sure.

We are LOVING having little Andy. I think even our old girl Sissy has taken a liking to him. He sleeps with her at night and tries to play with her during the day. Andy stuck his head in Sissy's food bowl this morning while she was eating and she didn't bite him, so that's a good sign. Like any puppy, he LOVES to get The Brownies toys and run around. He seems to have taken a liking to..."BINKIE". If one hits the floor, he is on it in record time. If you look real close, you can see that he has one in his mouth in this picture.

We get a lot of aerial activity around here. Most of the time they are military helicopters or life flight. One day there were no fewer than 10 helicopters and it shook the house and was so loud that I actually stepped outside to see what all the commotion was. The Brownies love to wave at them, so last week when we heard the familiar sound, we all looked up and waved. Little Brownie kept yelling..."Earpane, Earpane". And Big Brownie told them to have a good day. It was so sweet. Loving the warmer weather. Just can't wait for it to show up and stay for a while. I'm sure we will be complaining about it being to hot before too long, but the boys are clamoring everyday that it is too cold to go outside. Yesterday in between rain showers, we put on our coats and shoes and ran around for a little bit to burn off some excess energy. Then, it rained again and the Brownies ran back inside. Spring could not get here soon enough!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Leading by example...

I'm sure you have heard the expression, "He's a leader, not a follower" or vice versa. Is it possible to be both? Is it possible to lead others by example, all the while following God's lead and example to us...all at the same time? Being a witness to others and helping them to find faith and be saved in Jesus, is my calling. Walking a path that Jesus laid out for me in complete trust and faith, is my calling. He places the desire to know him in each and everyone of us. It is then up to us, to seek, trust and find him.

This post is somewhat conflicting for me. I'm heartbroken for my sister Aunt Berry. Uncle and Aunt Berry have been through a trying past week. If you read my post back in December, they were on the path to foster and adopt a 17 year old girl. They felt like they were following God's lead and calling to accept this beautiful young lady into their home. They sought her out, broke through the red tape and brought her into our family. We all accepted her into hearts as one of our own with open arms.

Through the last couple of months, things became extremely tense in the household. Everyone in the family began maneuvering to find their place. Sadly, some words were spoken, probably in a fit of anger, from this young girl that made it impossible for her to remain in their home and care. The wheels began to move to have her placed in a new home as soon as possible. She has been moved to hopefully a situation with someone kind and loving to help continue to guide her in a crucial time in her life. Heartbroken doesn't even describe the range of emotion that we as a family are feeling. We all would have loved to continue on this path to enrich and lead this young life in a walk towards Christ.

I continue to pray for her. I continue to care and wonder about her. Sadly though, my sister has become a target of ridicule. People that she doesn't even know have come forth to place judgment upon them for sending her to another home. The fact is, my sister had to protect the 4 children that the Lord blessed them with first and foremost. My sister had to move in a swift manner to make a safe environment for her family, when she felt it had been compromised. These same people that ridicule their decision also call into question their faith and Christianity. Is that fair? Does anyone know what your relationship is with God more so than The Good Lord himself? Does anyone have the right to bring you before judgment and crucify you to others?

The answer is unequivocally...NO! No matter if you feel their decision was right or wrong, my sister and brother-in-law had to make sure their family was safe. They do, to this very minute, still love and care for this young girl. I know for a fact, they wish there had been a different outcome. The old saying of "those who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones" rings a bell. It reminds me to not pass judgment so quickly. It is not ours to judge. And I am certain he does not condone the condemnation of others. Leading by example and following in his path is an extremely difficult thing to do on a daily basis. The road most taken is usually the easier path, but it is not always to right decision. It is easy to place judgment on others and it is easy to say that you would have done things differently. I continue to pray for my sister and brother-in-law through this extremely tough time. I hope they will continue to find comfort in him. I hope and pray they can find closure through this chapter in their life. And, I hope their children will see them leading by example everyday in their decisions and life choices.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fun in the sun...

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Big Brownie noticed right away that the sun was out and he exclaimed that..."SPRING IS HERE!" We all initially had shoes on, but as time passed, it was just more fun to run in the grass with our bare feet. I couldn't resist a bare feet picture of The Brownies..I'm sure my mom will be proud! The added excitement of having a new puppy to run with, seemed to melt the hours away. What a great day to enjoy each other. To find new buds, blooms and green grass. It has been a blessing to have sunshine today and when the Brownies wake from their naps, we will continue our fun in the sun!

Lots of laughs and giggles...

Lots of gifts of love...

Lots of "I love you Mommy's"!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Say What Wednesday...

Yes, a lot of our smiles and giggles surround potty training and yes, we have a new one for you this week...

Big Brownie has broken through his anxiety about using the outdoors as his latrine. Last week, I had a little bit of work to complete. It was one of those days that it wasn't too cold or too wet to go outside to play. I opened the back door and let Big Brownie run and explore, while I watched from the kitchen table. He finally realized that he could pee-pee on the grass...and that it was fun. He managed to successfully do his business a few times. Daddy Brown and I were standing at the backdoor talking and we noticed Big Brownie was kinda in a funny position, pants down around his knees, kinda squaty but kinda not. All of a sudden, Big Brownie pulls his pants up and runs to the step all the while screaming, "I poo-poo'd in the grass, I poo-poo'd in the grass!" Sure enough after further inspection, there indeed was #2 in the grass. You can imagine the conversations we have had over the next couple of days.

I frequently feel like I have a "peanut gallery" of sorts. I'll make something to eat for meal time and I get the usual, "I'm not hungry" or the "I'm not going to eat this", from Big Brownie. A couple of days ago, Daddy Brown came downstairs to an average breakfast of eggs and jelly toast. Little Brownie usually doesn't have a problem with pounding his food. Big Brownie looked up at Daddy Brown and said, "This is the best breakfast EVER!"

Sometimes I will indulge in the guilty pleasure of eating a candy bar while no one is around. Otherwise, I really don't get to eat it. I referee the dispensing of equal parts to Big Brownie and Little Brownie while barely getting a bite. I had tucked away a Snickers candy bar in the cupboard from prying little eyes and a few days ago, I had a chocolate craving. I remembered my little Snickers bar. During nap time, I enjoyed the whole bar to myself. My mistake was leaving the wrapper in the center of the table as opposed to discarding it. Big Brownie woke up from his nap and scanned the table. Once he saw the wrapper, he grabbed it and realized it was empty. He held it in the air with a serious look on his face and turned to me and said, "No Mom, you share the chocolate, don't eat the chocolate!"

The Brownies have recently discovered popcorn. It is a treat we don't get everyday, but most of the time, at least once a week. If it were up to the Brownies, it could be added to the food pyramid as its own food group. Last week, we had popcorn and juice as our afternoon snack. The boys were sitting on the back porch on their over-sized pillow with popcorn and juice. The bubble machine was spitting out thousands of bubbles per minute and they were watching the birds and the clouds pass by. Daddy Brown came in from work and asked the boys about their snack. He said, "Wow, are ya'll eating popcorn?" Little Brownie yells, "POTcorn!" and Big Brownie says, "Yeah Dad, we are eating our popcorn and juice...and my mom is the best!"

One of The Brownies favorite places in the world to visit, is the pet store. Having a new puppy, over the last couple of days, we have made a couple of trips to our local Petsmart. We usually visit the fish first, then kittens, birds, mice, hamsters, snakes, etc. Little Brownie has to ride in the buggy because I don't trust that he will keep his hands out of the fish tank and I don't think he could resist the urge to touch and throw every dog toy he could get his hands around. As we go through the store, he yells..."FISH!" and"Bird!"and "CAT!" As we walked over to the cats, Big Brownie was so excited to see they had so many. He looked at me and said, "Mama, I want to sing them a song". I said, "Ok baby, go ahead. What song are you going to sing?" He crossed his arms around his own chest and said, "Hawaiian like me". I agreed that would be a nice song to sing to the cats. As we stood in front of the cat counter, he swayed back and forth, with his little arms crossed and sang the entire song to the cats. He didn't care that people were around and that they stopped to listen. He wanted the cats to find comfort and to him, Hawaiian like me is one song that comforts him. After he was done, an older lady came up to him and said, "That was a beautiful song and you sang it so well." As he backed into my legs and looked at her with a shy and sweet face, he said, "Do you want to hear me sing, Jesus loves me?" It was so precious.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is there anything better?

I love my job. It is the absolute hardest job I've ever had. About 2 weeks ago, we had to be somewhere at 9a on a weekday morning. For one day, I had to actually wake everyone up, as opposed to allowing everyone to wake on their own. I woke up while the house was still quiet, to make sure I showered, dressed appropriately in "non-mommy" wear, actually blow-dried and styled my hair and wore make-up. You know, how I looked most every day prior to having The Brownies. I then woke Daddy Brown and Big Brownie woke up in the process. I roused Little Brownie and got them dressed, barely fed and out the door we flew, so we wouldn't be late.

It was a wake-up call for me. What if I had to work outside the home? This would be our song and dance everyday. A dance that many Mom's out there are faced with everyday. We have certainly sacrificed a lot in worldly possessions and luxuries to be able to afford the ability for me to stay home. Some months are tighter than others and makes things a little more stressful. However, both Daddy Brown and I are so committed to our jobs as parents first and foremost that for as long as we can, I can stay at home and raise our babies during the day and Daddy Brown can come home to healthy, happy Brownies...most days. I know there are some Mothers that prefer to work outside the home...I always thought I would be one of them. Would I be able to fully commit to the job of being a Mom full-time? Could I let go of the professional person I had worked so hard to become?

It was definitely a struggle in the beginning. When I just had Big Brownie, I still worked full-time hours on part-time days. When I became pregnant with Little Brownie and after delivering him, I went to part-time. When I realized that I wasn't doing either job to the best of my ability, I felt like a failure. I didn't want to let anyone down. Daddy Brown helped me realize that the only people I shouldn't let down, was my family. All the rest of it, we would work out...and we did. It was the best decision we have ever made. I love the opportunity to see all the "firsts" of our Brownies. Some Mom's want to stay home, but can't for one reason or another. I have so much respect for those Mom's who get up everyday, get their families ready and out the door to school or daycare, puts in a full day of work, come home to make supper, work on homework, baths, bedtime and on top of that, keep the house clean and the laundry caught up. Wow, it still amazes me these "Super Mom's" exist.

For me, I'm happy to be a stay-at-home Mama. I'm glad to know that I have each day to teach them shapes, colors, numbers, ABC's, etc. I'm so proud to know that Daddy Brown and I can actually potty train a child. I'm happy everyday to have the ability to look at these faces everyday. Most days I think I'm not that much to look at for them, but they are the most beautiful creatures we have every created. No spreadsheet, proposal or presentation has ever measured up to the success I feel in our Brownies. I mean seriously, is there anything better than this?

Or this...

Or this...

I don't think so!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Today is all about praise! The Good Lord answers prayers, not in our time, but in his. Daddy Brown has been suffering for 8 days the effects of kidney stones. He FINALLY passed a 5mm kidney stone this morning. Although very sore, he at least is not in the tremendous pain he has had off and on since last Monday. Many prayers have been said over him throughout the last week, and finally, awww...what a relief! Praise God!

I'll admit, I've falling off the workout bandwagon for the last 2 weeks. However, today during nap-time, I made myself stay off the couch. I am so glad that I did and now, I'm back on my game. No one is keeping score except myself. Daddy Brown is ever supportive of me, no matter if I lose 1 pound or all 50 pounds in my challenge. I am thankful for the desire to get up and move today. With that, I continue to pray for the desire to get up and do something, to eat better and make better choices.

Giving a shout out to Aunt Fudge's daughter, Chocolate Fudge. She has started a blog and she is an amazing young lady. So proud of her and her relationship with not only her family, but also in her faith. She is a great witness to her friends. I also want to say a special praise to Aunt Fudge's youngest son, Peanut Butter Fudge, who is 4 years old. Yesterday, he called Daddy Brown's cell phone and left a message saying..."I'm gonna get baptized and ya'll are welcome to come". After talking to Aunt Fudge, he decided after seeing someone get dunked in the tank, he wants to be baptized too. Aunt Fudge told him that when he was old enough, at least 6 years old, he could get baptized. So, in 2 years with a personal invitation to attend, Daddy Brown, myself and the Brownies will be in the front row when Peanut Butter Fudge makes the decision to follow Jesus. So awesome that he has an awareness and a desire at such a young age.

The "Photo Gods" cursed me last week. Back several months ago, I accidentally spilled breastmilk on my small digital camera and sadly, it never recovered. I have been using my really nice Canon Rebel xti and last week, it stopped working for an unknown reason. Of course, when there is no camera around, amazing pictures are lost. Like our very first kite flying experience last week in the back yard. Or the afternoon snack time on the back porch whilst the bubble machine is running in the background. So, Tutu Nani and Aunt Berry came to my rescue. I now have a small digital camera that I can carry in my backpack from Tutu Nani and a Canon Rebel that had been retired when Aunt Berry upgraded to a Canon D40. It's nice to have family members that can "hook you up" when the "Photo Gods" decide to rain on your parade! Praise Be!

Lifting up Uncle and Aunt Berry today for an unspoken prayer. He knows what their hearts desire and will answer those needs. Please say a prayer if you will to help them and all people involved to come to a quick resolution and solace in their decisions.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Meet Andy... our new family member Andy. Andy is short for Andolini. Yes, it is from the book and movie, "The Godfather", which is one of my favorite saga's. (For those who are not familiar, Andolini was The Godfather...Don Vito Corelone's original last name before he was a stowaway to the US). Anywho...Sissy has done so well with little Andy. We brought him home, introduced them in the backyard and not exactly two peas in a pod, but pretty close. Andy rests in Sissy's "crook". I think it is very comforting for him to have an older "mama" style dog to follow and love on.

She has definitely put him in his place a couple of time. We frequently have Cheerios on the floor after snack or breakfast. Sissy decided some weeks ago that she would pass on eating the cheerios in hopes of scoring something much more awesome to eat. Yesterday, Little Brownie gave Andy his graham cracker and Sissy politely came over and took it from Andy. She was not bothered one bit by his jumping around and barking. So, he went back to eating the Cheerios on the floor, which to him, was a big treat. He also wanted her to get up a play with him in the middle of the night. She nipped at him with a motherly snap, and he laid back down and went back to sleep.

The Brownies are having so much fun as well. They don't really understand the concept of "Not running" so Andy thinks they are running to play. As all puppies do, he likes to nibble on hands, feet, toes, ears or hair. They have adapted well so far, but we have a ways to go. Keep up in your prayers and we'll keep you up to date with what I'm sure will be our "Brownie Saga" as the days go by.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Say What Wednesday...'s Wednesday and of course, my Brownies do not disappoint in their words to entertain.

This past week Big Brownie has decided not only does he not want to wear underwear, but he also wants to hold his pee in for as long as he can. We played outside and I even tried to entice him with permission to pee-pee outside. I think he thought it sounded more fun then it actually turned out to be. Anticipating that this would be awkward, since Daddy Brown was at work, I tried to describe the action of pee-peeing on one of our trees in the backyard close to the house. We walked over to the tree and I said, "Ok, all you have to do is point and pee-pee." He said, "Oh, will that make pee-pee come out of my finger?" I was baffled for a minute and finally said, "Oh no, point your pee-pee to the tree and then you can pee-pee on the tree." He said, "Oh, I'm not going to pee-pee on the tree." I said, "Why not? It really is okay to pee-pee on Mommy's tree." He said, "No mama, I'm not going to pee-pee on the needs water to drink, not pee-pee".

He also had playtime at Aunt Apples this week. He told her when she asked him if he wanted to go pee-pee in the potty..."No thanks, I don't want to be troubled with that right now."

We still fight with what beverage is going to be in the bed with Big Brownie each night. Some nights, he wants juice, some nights he wants water and some nights he wants juice and water. Last night, Daddy Brown had prepared a minimal amount of juice to water ratio. After taking a few sips he said, "Mom, I need sleepy time water, this is daytime water".

Is it just me or is it hard to answer some questions of a toddler? When they watch a movie and a preview comes on and it begins with "Coming Soon". Then I'm asked, "Mom, what does 'coming soon' mean?" It seems to be that my answer is something like..."Well, it means that show is going to come on REAL SOON." I've also found that it helps if you say it slow and drawn out.

Little Brownie this week decided that he has observed Big Brownie getting heart treats for pee-pee in the potty long enough. He ran over to the counter yesterday and scream..."HEART TREAT!" He kept exclaiming this message to me until finally I caved and gave him a heart treat. He was so pleased. He gummed it around in his mouth over and over again. Finally, he looked at me and smiled. He said, "Oh...heart treat...ummmm, good!"

Little Brownie and I found a big bouncy ball this week and have played with it outside. He will bring me the ball, and waits for you to say, "Ready?". He repeats and YELLS, "READY". He will not move until you say, "Go get it!" When he brings it back he is yelling all the way back..."I did it, I did it!" I think that is his favorite phrase, along with "Awesome", and the one we have been hearing a lot lately..."I sorry".

Wow...I really could go on, but I think I will give you one more of the week. Big Brownie seems to be paying more attention and his vocabulary is expanding everyday. I get a question from, "What makes toast? "What makes pee-pee?" To get his attention, I will frequently say, "Listen, I have a question for you." Last week he said, "Mom, I have a question for you and I need you to really listen." I said, "Ok, what is your question?" He said, "Mama, don't say, 'what is your question', say, 'what'." I said, "Ok, what?" He said, "No Mom, don't say 'Ok what'...say 'what'?" I said, "What?" He said, "What does what mean?" Ahhhh...really! Keeps us in stitches to say the very least!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Starting at Zero...

Recently, I had a friend post a very raw and real statement..."Today, I'm starting at zero." Without going into too much specific detail, he basically felt he had lost his way. Failed marriage, every other weekend custody of his 4 children, unemployed, had his identity stolen, gained 40 pounds with no desire to get back on the to speak, wanting a drink after being 8 years sober and most importantly, has felt like he has lost his closeness with the one most high. He is struggling to muster the energy to seek his guidance and assurance. I went to high school with this person and he lost his sister, who was my age, to suicide when I was in the 9th grade. A loss I'm not sure he fully recovered. He is on my mind this morning and I'm praying for him. I ask that you do the same.

I'm reminded how fortunate so many of us are, but also, how so many are 1 tragedy away from "Starting at Zero". I know my faith and will are strong. I believe we all should "Start at Zero" every morning when we rise to a new day. And it is a new day. Every day you rise, is a new day to affect change in your life or in the lives of others. I read someone write recently, "when you see what God has been up to during this miserable time, I'm betting you will be surprised such glory can come from such mess". That is true. You can't imagine when you are in the throws of your own sorrow and depression, that anyone can pick you up and pour his love and blessings over you. It really isn't "anyone". We as humans can help to pick people up and love on them. However, there is only one...the Lord Almighty himself, that can help you help yourself. If you are feeling low today, I want to encourage you to open your bible. Continue to seek his guidance and his love.

I read another post yesterday that was encouraging to me..."Perhaps you’re going through some fiery trial right now, and feel that you’re carrying a burden that’s just too heavy to bear. You might even feel like giving up. Perhaps you feel like nobody cares about you enough to take the time to understand what you’re going through. Well, Jesus has something to say to you. Not only does he know who you are, He loves you, and wants to be with you forever. Indeed, the world will promise you many things; and you can even try to prosper in it. Worldly pleasure may make you feel good for a moment; however, it will ultimately leave you feeling empty, because it can’t give you what is needed most, that is, love. Only God can do that, because God is love. Moreover it is quite clear from what’s happening around us that the world is not the solution to our problems; rather, Jesus Christ is".

Yesterday is in the past and you can't change it. However, you can change your outlook and your attitude for today. If you find yourself at rock bottom, be encouraged that life is not hopeless, it is hopeful. Be encouraged that when you are down and out, the Lord can pick you up and wipe your tears. He can move you in ways that no other can. Be encourage and rededicate yourself to him. It's not too late. He'll be with you in the eleventh hour. Will you trust in him today? Will you accept what Jesus wants for you?
Will you let Him usher you into a brighter life, and a more encouraging experience with God? Don’t let the devil cause you to feel like you are worthless. You are not worthless in God’s eyes. For you belong to the King of kings and Lord of lords. That’s right, you are a child of the King! Therefore, stand up and praise Him! Be encouraged! God is righteous, and HE will deliver you from all evil in his time.

I'll end with some scripture that spoke to me during my quiet time...

John 14:1-3 says...“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Romans 8:38-39 says...“neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalms 9:9-10 says...“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

Psalms 46:1-3 says...“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.”

John 14:18 says...“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A few adventures...

We have had a few adventures over the last few days. Friday, the Brownies and I trekked to our new "Discount Tire Store" to buy new shoes for the family truck-ster. Of course, after Daddy Brown had selected the tires online and then after me calling the store to verify they had the tires were in stock, when we got there, my tires were gone. had been 1 hour since I had called the store. I didn't let myself get upset as I would have done in my past. I simply looked very puzzled and explained that I had called before bringing my 2 children under the age of 3 to a tire store. The salesman was very helpful and understanding. He offered a comparable but slightly better tire to me for the same price as the original tire I was looking to purchase. I called Daddy Brown to make sure that was satisfactory and now, we have a new set of Pirelli tires on the car. We have been needing tires for a while, but ugh, it's one of those purchases you hate to buy. It's not fun, they are just tires. While there, I brought the portable DVD for the boys to watch and they LOVED running around the showroom looking at the tires. 30 minutes later, we were on our way. I would highly recommend the "Discount Tire Store". They really took care of us and got us in and out in a flash.

Also, we are in the market for a new Boxer puppy dog. We have struggled since Bubba passed back in January on whether to rescue another Boxer or get a puppy. This past Thursday, I went out to the Middle Tennessee Boxer Rescue in Brentwood. This is where we originally got Bubba and Sissy. I was there to take some snapshots of the current dogs for their website. I had such a great time and loved on those sweet dogs. It truly broke my heart that someone didn't want to come and take these poor babies in. You may ask then, "Why we are looking for a puppy instead of a rescue?" For a couple of reasons...first, we still have Sissy girl with us and she is getting a little more frail every week. She can almost be knocked over if one of the boys run too fast and accidentally bump her. The Boxers at the rescue are full of exuberant life, as adult Boxers tend to be. They could easily knock her over and that is not what we want for our Sissy girl in her final times with us or for the boys as they are still small. Secondly, as Boxer girls are very dominant and territorial, we are only in the market for a male. With the exception of one Boxer at the rescue, most all others were rather large. And thirdly, with the boys being under 3 and not knowing the background of these Boxers, we want to bring up a dog as a puppy so that they can know the layout and their place. Sissy can "mother" the puppy and help keep him inline as well. It is a good idea when getting a new puppy to allow them to be raised with an older dog if possible, so they can learn from them too. We are fortunate to still have Sissy and this would also give her an opportunity to play with another animal as she has always done with Bubba.

That being said, it is difficult to find a good housemate. For instance, we took a 45 minute trip Saturday in hopes of finding our newest member. Daddy Brown went in to see and check out the 1 male boxer that was left in the litter. Upon closer inspection, he noticed that the poor puppy didn't have an under bite. For those who don't understand what that means, he basically had a mouth and teeth setup the same as a lab or golden retriever. The under bite is a basic characteristic of a Boxer. Daddy Brown showed the regular bite to the owners and they were shocked and surprised. Seriously, you have a Boxer litter that you are charging good money for it...and you didn't check the bite, not even when you were playing with the didn't notice. So, with that, we have to be careful when we are selecting a pup. Good health, standard characteristics of the breed and the temperament of the parent dogs should all be taken into consideration as well. Boxers are a great family dog. They are great with kids and they are great protectors. They have TONS of energy and once they have expended that energy outside, they are BIG couch potatoes inside. We are not rushing to get a puppy, so we can be a little more cautious and selective. We love the breed and hope to find a great, new member of our family soon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Say What Wednesday...

I had a lot of fun with the "Say What?" post from last week. So, I decided to make it a weekly post of the funny lines from the Brownies. Quick update on the potty training...I hate to almost ginx myself, but I think it has been a success. With the exception of nighttime sleeping, we are diaper free, even through nap-time. What a blessing and an added bonus to our monthly finances to have only 1 baby in diapers. Whoo-hoo!

So along the lines of potty training, I have been trying to talk Big Brownie into wearing underwear. We potty trained "Commando-style" so this has been a bit of a challenge. Like any crazy parent would do, I went to Target and bought exciting, fun character undies to try and bribe him into wearing some "cool draws" as we like to call them around here. Yesterday, I laid out 5 different character undies and asked him to pick one to put on. Here was the conversation..."Do you want to choose what underwear you'd like to wear today?" Big Brownie said, "No thanks". I said, "Well, here are your have Mr. Incredible, Cars, Buzz Lightyear/Woody, Go, Diego, Go and Spongebob". "No thanks Mom", was his reply again. I said, "Why don't you want to wear your underwear?" He looked at the undies and pointed to each one and said, "This one (Mr. Incredible) is too scary, this one (Cars) is too dangerous, this one (Buzz Lightyear/Woody) is too silly, this one (Go Diego Go) is bad and this one (Spongebob) is too funny". So, what did I do with that...Commando we go!

If you have toddlers under a certain age, you might be victim to your words sometimes. For instance, if you say any sentence that has the word "outside" in it, your kids will automatically expect that they are going outside. So, like all other parents in this boat, we have began to spell words that could trigger this kind of response. This past weekend Daddy Brown and I were talking about what we would like to do this spring...plant a garden, etc. I said, "I can't wait until the weather is warm enough to go to the Z-O-O". Big Brownie jumped down off the couch and started clapping and cheering. I said, "What are you so happy about?" He said, "I want to, I want to!" I said, "You want to what?" He said, "I want to see the animals!" I said, "Where are you going to see animals?" He said, "At the ZOO!" So, what the kid can spell too? He NEVER ceases to amaze me.

Big Brownie has belly issues. We make a really unsavory concoction of prune juice and milk, a.k.a. "Milk-Juice" for Big Brownie every morning to help keep things moving in the right direction. Here lately, he has requested this beverage throughout the day. We were at Publix this week and I told Big Brownie to help me remember to get prune juice. Later in the evening, he came to me and said, "Mama, can I have some balloon juice?" I said, "What is balloon juice?" He said, "Not balloon juice, I want BALLOON Juice" It took me a minute and finally Daddy Brown said, "Do you want prune juice?" He said, "Yes Dad, I want balloon juice".

Lastly, I'll write a little bit about Little Brownie. He is getting so much better with his words. Yesterday, Big Brownie climbed into Little Brownies bed to jump and play. I was folding laundry in my room and he came running in and said, "Brother...bed", all the while pointing and fussing his little head off. I asked, "Do you mean brother is in your bed?" He said, "Uh-huh". I asked him, "Do you want me to get brother out of your bed?" He said, "Uh-huh". As I walked down the hall towards Little Brownies room, he was clipping my heals trying to get past me. He grabbed my pant legs and ran past me, as he knew the enforcer, a.k.a. Mama, was behind him. As we entered the room, he looked at me, pointed at Big Brownie and said, "OUT!"

Oh me...what are we going to do these my boys? I'll tell you what we're going to do. We are going to laugh and enjoy every minute of it, for as many days as the Good Lord blesses us to be with them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Where are you going?

During the last couple of days, we have had so much going on that by the time we put the Brownies down for bed it is usually late in the evening. Daddy Brown has been putting Big Brownie down and I've been putting Little Brownie down at the same time. Under normal circumstances, I put Little Brownie to bed while Daddy Brown plays, baths and/or reads with Big Brownie. Afterward, I come to help with bedtime prayer and then I sing bedtime songs. Since Daddy Brown has been putting Big Brownie down, he has been in charge of singing the songs. We have the normal 5 standby songs that we sing on a regular basis...Hawaiian Like Me, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Jesus Loves Me and Rock-a-by Baby.

Sunday night, we were going to celebrate Daddy Brown's birthday at Gran Gran and Pops house. In anticipation of a big night, we put the boys down for nap and I began to sing the normal songs. Big Brownie stopped me and said, "No Mom, sing the Little One song". Because he has a tendency to make special requests at times, mostly from one of his shows, I asked him to sing it to me so I'd know what song to sing. He sang, "Where are you going my little one, little one" over and over. This was not a song I was familiar with so I made up something and he seemed satisfied. I continued on with the other songs. I came out of his room and told Daddy Brown about this new song in case he needed to know. He said, "Oh that's a new song that I've been singing to him at night." Daddy Brown got up, went to his room and sang it for him.

That night, we came home from Daddy Brown's birthday dinner and it was late. We shuffled everyone around to get pajamas, snacks, juice, wipe downs and to their beds. I was determined to be able to help put Big Brownie down too. The boys were bushed from playing at Gran Gran and Pops house, and therefore Little Brownie went down for bed quicker than normal. As I walked into Big Brownies room, they were finishing up with reading books. We said our prayers and Daddy Brown kissed Big Brownie good night and as he was walking out, I asked him to sing the song so I could learn and sing it to Big Brownie.

"Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby my own,
turn around and you're 2,
turn around and you're 4,
turn around and you're a young man, walking out the door.
Turn around, turn around, turn around my little one,
turn around and you're a young man, walking out the door."

I teared up a little bit as Daddy Brown sang this sweet lullaby that I've never heard. It is true, they are growing up so fast. Daddy Brown said his mom used to sing it to him and I hope our boys will remember that their Dad sang it to them. What a sweet moment between father and son.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's a good thing...

Today is the day for celebrating the love of my life's birthday. That's right, Daddy Brown is 34 years young and I believe doesn't look a day over 22. I've blogged about how we met and married and I've blogged about my love for him. Today, I am sharing what he means to me in my life.

I've officially known and loved him for half my life. I vaguely remember a time that he wasn't a part of it and he is happily in most of my memories as an adult. There are times that he's wiped my tears from my face and there are times that we laugh until we cry. He is the most precious and sacred gift that I have been given. Our children are obviously running a close second. However, without him, they would not exist to be exactly as they are.

Daddy Brown provides a moral compass for us as a family. He is the leader of our household and provides an excellent role model for our boys. I remember telling his Mom one day that I was so thankful of the job that she and Pops did in raising such a man. And I remember her words as she said..."He was fathered well." That is such a true statement. Daddy Brown is so very much like his dad. Pops is a good and hardworking man. Pops has "fathered" and taught Daddy Brown how to be a great father to our boys. Yes, Daddy Brown has a lot of characteristics of his parents. Parents that I too am blessed to have as in-laws.

He is an amazing husband. He truly cares about his family and takes care of each and everyone of us. We use the phrase, "take one for the team" quite often. Sometimes, that means he wakes up early and tiptoes out of our room to care for our boys so I can get a few hours of rest, like this past Sunday morning. Or, when he comes home after working all day and cooks supper for our family. Daddy Brown "takes one for the team" because we are a team. We are each others better half and that's what makes us a whole. When we married, we didn't just become one in the eyes of God, we became one in the eyes of each other. We respect and love each other even through our daily tasks. The Good Lord truly designed him to fit me perfectly. No, we don't have a perfect life, but it feels as perfect as it could possibly be.

As we have entered into our thirties, it is funny to feel the years go by as we see time through our children. We hear ourselves make statements like, "Do you remember when..." and we fondly remember trips and special moments with each other. We talk about our future and what is to come. We discuss the future of our boys and our future after the boys are all grown up. There will be a time when our boys will have families of their own and then it will be just the two of us again. I love Daddy Brown with every fiber in my body. Certainly not everyday is a walk in the park. However, to know that I have someone to stroll through that park everyday, come rain or shine, is a good feeling.

I can't tell him "Thank you" enough. Thank you for being who you are, thank you for helping make me be who I am. Thank you for our boys and thank you for our life. To feel your toes in the bed as we sleep, to feel your hand on mine when we pray, to feel your heart next to mine when I'm's a good thing. Happy Birthday to my better half and the love of my life. To the one that helps me rise every morning and to the one that is next to me when I fall asleep at night, I love you.